Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius)


French: Oriole des vergers German: Gartentrupial Spanish: Turpial castaño

O[riolus]. spurius


, 1766,

South Carolina, USA


Very closely related to, and often regarded as conspecific with, I. fuertesi; the two have discrete breeding ranges, but no evidence of intergradation where ranges approach one another, and vocalizations, especially calls, differ#R#R. Birds from C plateau of Mexico sometimes treated as a geographical race, phillipsi, on basis of larger size and slight differences in juvenile plumage, but such differences barely detectable. Monotypic.


S Canada (S Saskatchewan, S Manitoba and extreme SE Ontario) and most of E USA (from North Dakota and Maine, locally W to NE Montana and E Colorado), S in Mexico to Jalisco, Michoacán and Hidalgo; winters from S Mexico (Sinaloa and Veracruz) S throughout Central America to Colombia and extreme NW Venezuela.

Descriptive notes

15–17 cm; male average 22·1 g, female average 20·8 g. A small, slender, short-tailed oriole. Male has head to chest and back black, rump and uppertail-... read more


Song, often in flight, variable, basically a high-pitched series of warbles, whistles and slurs.... read more


Open woodland, avoiding dense forest. Breeds in rural areas with mesquite (Prosopis juliflora... read more

Food and feeding

Stomach contents from breeding grounds contained 91% animal food and 9% plant food. Insects taken include flies (Diptera), ants (Formicidae... read more


Season Apr–Jun in S USA, later in N, and egg-laying not until Jun in Canada (Manitoba); single-brooded, but recent evidence indicates... read more


Long-distance migrant. Almost all migrate to area from S Mexico (Colima and Veracruz) S to N... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to uncommon; rather local, especially in N of range. Adapts well to artificial habitats. US census data suggest a slow... read more

Recommended citation

Fraga, R. (2019). Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).